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How many steps are too many? Having trouble toning down my picture count. Answered

I don't want to start up another "I'm not a fan of the picture layout" thread. That's why I posted this here, not in another section of the forums since my instructibles are crafty or arty and those are the types that tend to have more pictures, from what I've seen.

Instead I'm trying to work within the system. Motivated to get back into it by some of the interest I've received  still getting subscribers, which warms my wittle heart. To that end, my praying mantis is finished, just need to photograph the final result. The instructions were all written just before the site switched over the picture layout though, and the process seems to require lots of pictures, I can't seem to remove enough pictures from the 'ible to make it fit with a few steps with only a few pictures in each.

Wondering what peoples opinions are on the length and depth of instruction in an instructible are? Wondering if you'd rather 10 to 15 pictures in one step, with a couple paragraphs of instructions below that you'd have to scroll up and down repeatedly for, going in and out of pictures to see the picture tags so you understand what is being written, etc...OR...would you prefer to go through 3 to 5 times the number of steps with only a couple pics per page, with a single paragraph of text instructions BUT where you'd have to go through multiple steps (multiple pages) to see how a fairly simple part of the process is done?

I figure I'd need to reduce the number of pictures posted in each step. Because looking at my wire octopus 'ible, it's a really hard read these days. My thoughts are 3 to 6 pictures per step, max. That leaves me with what will end up as a 30+ step 'ible for my current praying mantis 'ible. So...

I'm tempted to just post up a few work in progress shots with a decent text explanation and leave it to the reader to picture the majority of it in their minds.


I don't see any problem with a large number of steps. In fact, with the unpleasant new picture layout, you have to use a large number of steps in order to have the text anywhere near what it's talking about! I have a 28-step I'ble myself, and that recent one about the Greene and Greene table has 36 steps!

That's how I feel about it too. I was thinking 3 pics max per step, which might push a significantly more complex velociraptor project into the 120 to 150'ish step range, which made me pause and consult the community when I thought about it. But I asked about the mantis project numbers because that's the 'ible I was working on submitting at the time.

I think it depends on what your your doing. Ive go a few instuctables with over 30 photos in each step and notes in the photos. Its explained that you have to click on a photo and use the arrow keys to scroll through them. have a look at Digital Manufacturing - project four laser cut box
 Ive done five instuctables like this, and I use them to teach CAD. the feedback I get from kids is they really like this format , once they know to use the arrow keys, which some kids dont pick up on for some reason

Excellent! That format seems to work really well for the picture intensive 'ible! That might just be the most efficient solution. I kept thinking there wasn't enough room to put so many instructions in the picture notes, but, you only need to put in the instructions pertaining to that specific picture (I feel I should bonk myself in the forehead here). I'm realizing I seem to have a pretty severe case of tunnel vision going, with regard to how to post an instructible.

Recognizing your shortcomings is half the battle, right? I've been talking with Kiteman about the experiment he suggested. I'll definitely add the full instructions to the pictures, then people can choose how they want to go through the info.

Thanks for opening my eyes Liquidhandwash.

I have to say I agree with kelseymh, the current layout does not lend itself to having more than a few pictures if you want your text to be anywhere near the images you are describing.
I have tried to restrict my most recent 'ibles to three or four images per step & using more steps rather than have the reader constantly having to scroll back & forth to refer to text then image then back again.
I would say if you are satisfied you have got across your idea, method and results then the number of steps or images it takes is whatever it requires to do just that.
When I did my 'ible about Hatbands from salvaged materials I chose to demonstrate a fairly simple one as I didn't want to extend the ,ible any further than it took to show what could be achieved easily with a few old belts & beads, had I chosen to show one of the more complicated woven ones I have made in the past it could easily have ended up going into thirty odd steps.
I would go for more steps & be happy you have got across everything you feel you need to rather than edit & cut it just to look back & think "I should have shown more of that part"

I hope this is helpful.

I looked at your instructable wire octopus.

In the intro 1 good picture would have done.

In step 1 pictures good some unnecessary links like the google search.

The project is complicated I would post a good photo of the finished part explain the step and then post a video like this


in the video show and explain what you are doing.

Like this one


Did this help?


Thanks for going through all that. I don't think the intro pics were an issue, just because they're free from any sort of requirement to comprehend or correlate with the text below.

But you make a great point with the video. I did consider doing one a long time ago but due to the repetition and how long it takes to complete something like these, several hours, I decided that was not realistic. But, geeze, it's not like I need to show the repetition, a little editing or selective filming could easily bring it down to few quick videos of just the highlights,turning points, different techniques, etc. I wonder how well my phone can capture video, I'll have to consider that. Possibly, stop biting my finger nails! Haha.

It definitely does help. Maybe not for this current mantis project since it's already done, but the next thing I do. Thanks again.

Video is not always easy I kept getting my shoulder and head in the shot when I tried to video whipping a fishing rod for my Instructable Repairing Fishing Rods. Whipping is not that different from your wire figurines.

Haha. Yeah. It's hard enough not poking my eye out with the wires flying around while I work, I can't imagine adding a video camera to the mix is going to help.

You could try an experiment; post it as both kinds, and see which gets the most views and favourable feedback.

I would also cross-link the two, so that people that only want to see pictures or people that like step-by-steps can find the one they want.